Kenya has been blocked from sending goods worth Ksh10 billion to Russia in the wake of the latest sanctions imposed on President Vladimir Putin's administration.
Major containers and shipping lines from Kenya were temporarily suspended from heading to and from Russia in the wake of the penalties imposed on Russia to force Putin to abort his invasion of Ukraine.
East African Tea Trade Association stated that the Danish shipping giant Maersk and CMA CGM of France sent advisories to Kenya’s exporters informing them of the suspension of supplies to and from Russia either via sea or land.
Russia imports tea, flowers, coffee, spices, nuts, vegetables, and fruits from Kenya.
“Even if you are lucky to get tea to Russia because we don’t know whether tea falls under foodstuff or beverage, how would you get paid when sanctions block them from remitting money to us?” an official of the East African Tea Trade Association told the Business Daily.
The impact of the sanction was also felt in Mombasa during the tea auction where Russian buyers kept off despite being the fifth-largest consumer of Kenya’s tea after Pakistan, Egypt, the UK, and UAE.
Flower exporters further decried the effects of the sanctions which are hurting small scale farmers in the country.
“The bulk of our (cut flower) produce was going through Amsterdam to Russia. No one is going to risk moving into Russia which has been isolated from all fronts,” they stated.
"They have stifled investments and foreign exchange in Russia. It’s unlikely that we will do business with Russia in the nearest future until all these issues are sorted out," they added.
The suspension of shipment is a big blow to Kenya which earned over Ksh45 billion in trade deals between the two countries in 2020.
In 2021, Russia purchased 29.61 million kilos of tea worth Ksh6.25 billion from 25.14 million kilos valued at Ksh5.02 billion in 2020.
Other countries which suspended shipment to Russia include France, England with the US mulling on imposing similar restrictions.
Kenya was among the first nations to castigate Russia for invading Ukraine. Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Martin Kimani warned that Russia's failure to handle matters diplomatically was unjustifiable and a recipe for war.
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